Rising in Beauty

Rising in Beauty
Sky over North Park

Just Learning

Just Learning
Kitchen Studio

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bait and Switch

RedAl has a good review of Barbara Ehrenreich's "Bait and Switch," which documents the experiences of far too many educated, competent, skilled people who are ready to work - and can't find work. I read the book recently, and couldn't improve on this succinct review.

I recommend Ehrenreich's own blogs which are often funny and always provocative.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Quest for Fire

"Quest For Fire," a movie which came out in the 1980's, may be the best dramatized documentary in film history, although it was released as a regular fiction movie.

I've watched many depictions of how prehistoric man, hominid and ape may have moved, socialized, fought, used tools. I've watched many nature shows that captured behavior the casual observer would never have seen, and listened to Jane Goodall and others describe family life of gorillas, bonobos, chimps and orangs. I've also viewed apes living in fairly comfortable environments at the Columbus, Ohio zoo and the San Diego zoo. That includes their sexual behavior, at times.

Some of the behavior of the fictional tribe members matched ape behaviors uncannily. Meticulous, sustained thought and work went into maintaining the illusion throughout the story, so that we seemed to be present at transitions and breakthroughs as new realizations dawned on early humankind.

The chief advisor on body language was Desmond Morris. While his conclusions in "The Naked Ape," are not now honored, he and the other zoologists and anthropologists were honest and tireless observers and gave a lot to the fascination of the story.


Last night I watched "Quest For Fire," on HULU. I had not seen it when it came out. Bad reviews of "10,000 B.C.," referred to "Quest For Fire," as a much better movie set in prehistory. So when I saw it on the alphabetical movie list on the new site, HULU, I wanted to see it.

HULU is free to the watcher, supported by advertising. A friend said people would never watch full length movies online because the picture is too small. On my PC, the picture was clear in the smaller size, still occasionally jerky, and my sound is very basic. Since I have always had smaller screen TV's and never went for SurroundSound, it wasn't that hard to adjust. I miss late night "B" movies that have all gone to dedicated movie channels. HULU gives me back that option, with the addition of choice. The other night I watched the 1 hour 37 minute pilot of "Hill Street Blues," and I intend to watch the episodes in sequence during the summer. I rewatched all the episodes of "Life," while NBC offered them. The video quality was much poorer, but I already liked the show so much that I didn't mind. I did have to stop and rest my eyes.

The site opened March 12th. I wish it long life.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

"'Tis spring, 'tis spring,
Da boid is on da wing.
Absoid, absoid,
Da wing is on da boid.'"
Ogden Nash

Apologies to any members of my family, who have heard this silly ditty too often.

To me, it's the unexpected lyricism of the New York taxi driver, craning his/her neck to look at a blue sky far above the traffic jam. Unexpected only because of stereotypes about cynical attitudes and hardened sensibilities, and about certain accents' incompatibility with a love of language and literature.

Very soon, thousands and thousands of trees will leaf out and bloom on the streets and in the parks of the city. Migrating birds will rest in Jamaica Bay. Robins will puff their foolish chests and sing for mates.

May we humans care for our environment so that the miracle can continue.

(One of the loveliest robin flying photos on Flickr.com is called Leap of Faith, by moriarti-Ryan.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wheels When You Want Them

Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!

I enjoyed my first trip in a rented Zipcar today, a Nissan Bresla. The surf was rolling in and crashing at Ocean Beach. Under dramatic clouds, I breathed deep, fresh air from salt water. I checked out the farmers' market held every Wednesday. This is a good way to have access to personal driving without maintaining a car.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Go to TED and watch the video of the Pilobolous Dance Company. "A union of dance and biology," begins to describe their work, which uses the natural mechanics of the human body to the flowing, balancing extreme.

You may have seen a Ford car ad in which dancers form the outline of a car, and then the car materializes. That was Pilobolus .

Beautiful. Fearless. Exploratory.